Biomethane production has been launched in Slovakia.
It is secured by the PM company that plans to produce 80-85 MWh of biomethane near Jelšava (Banská Bystrica Region). According to the Slovak Gas and Oil Association, this step means the Slovak gas industry is getting greener.
“The basic material used to produce biogas is chicken manure and cow dung, and various biodegradable waste,” said Martin Pribola, authorised representative of PM, as quoted by the SITA newswire, adding that this biogas is then turned into biomethane.
Conditions need to be adjusted
Biomethane has the same features as natural gas, which means it can be used in the gas pipeline system and delivered to end customers.
“Biomethane is carbon neutral and no solid pollutants are generated during its combustion, which is why it can be used for the decarbonisation of transport in the form of bioCNG and bioLNG,” said Richard Kvasňovský, executive director of the Slovak Gas and Oil Association, as quoted by SITA.
Currently, about 100 biogas stations are in operation in Slovakia. Their administrators are thinking about the future because the current support mechanisms end in 2025.
Under the current criteria, about one third of them could focus on biomethane that could be pressed into the gas pipeline system.
“The others could concentrate on the production of alternative fuels for transport,” said Patrícia Gašparcová, chair of the Slovak Biogas Association, as quoted by SITA, adding it is important to set support mechanisms for their transformation.
The Economy Ministry is currently working on subsidy schemes to build new capacities for the production of biogas and biomethane, and the modification of existing biogas stations so that they would be able to produce biomethane.
Potential replacement of gas supplies
An important role will also be setting up operational support for the consumers of biomethane, so that it is not sold abroad but used in Slovakia. One of the prerequisites for such a step is the creation of a register of the guarantees of origin for renewable gases, currently prepared by the SPP-Distribúcia company.
The added value should be the creation of connection between all market subjects that can sell or buy biomethane through the guarantees of origin, said Jerguš Vopálenský of SPP-Distribúcia, as reported by SITA.
Slovakia has the potential to produce 400-500 million cubic metres of biomethane a year, which equals 10 percent of the current consumption of natural gas, according to Kvasňovský.
“If natural gas is replaced by biomethane, the energy security of Slovakia increases as we would not have to import such large amounts of natural gas,” he said, as quoted by SITA. “The diversification of supply sources and the greatest possible local production of renewable and low-carbon gases are tasks we have to fulfil in Europe.”